The sustainability scorecard

About the sustainability scorecard

This sustainability scorecard benchmarks the performance of a selection of companies against seven sustainability-related criteria, and is designed to highlight the areas in which the listed companies are more and less mature in their sustainability strategies. The companies listed includes telcos and small selection of others in adjacent industries (technology, infrastructure).

It supports telcos and their partners to:

  1. Benchmark sustainability performance against competitors
  2. Understand areas of relative strength
  3. Highlight areas that require greater focus in order to guide future sustainability strategies

Our list of companies are scored against seven sustainability criteria including:

1. Structured sustainability reporting. Whether the company has history of publishing sustainability reports over a period of time shows a sustained commitment to sustainability.
2. Sustainability commitments and incentives. Evidence of board level incentives tied to ESG targets demonstrates that the organisation sees achieving sustainability targets as core to its long term competitiveness.
3. Public reporting on scope 1, 2 and 3 with associated emission reduction targets.
4. Green finance. This includes the issuing of green bonds or sustainability linked bonds.
5. External recognition of social initiatives to highlight the full spectrum of ESG initiatives.
6. Commitment to biodiversity.
7. Enablement. Companies that are committed to enabling their customers to reduce their carbon footprint will have concerted initiatives that are delivering measurable benefits.

Companies included in the scorecard

1. Telefónica
2. Verizon
3. Proximus
4. KPN
5. SK Telecom
6. Amazon
7. Apple
8. Vodafone
9. Deutsche Telekom
10. Swisscom
11. Google
12. TELUS
13. Elisa
14. Sony
15. Softbank
16. KDDI
17. Orange
18. AT&T
19. BT
20. Meta
21. Microsoft
22. Telia
23. Millicom
24. Bell
25. Singtel
26. MTN
27. America Movil
28. Telenor
29. Cellnex
30. Saudi Telecom Company
31. T Mobile
32. China Mobile
33. Telkom Indonesia
34. Telstra
35. Rogers
36. Netflix
37. Tata Communications
38. Globe
39. China Telecom
40. Bharti Airtel
41. American Tower Corporation
42. Veon
43. MTS
44. Jio
45. Digicel

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Telco roadmap to net-zero carbon emissions: Why, when and how

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The net-zero enablement use case directory

About the Telecoms Net Zero Enablement Use Case Directory

This telecoms net-zero enablement use case directory highlights a selection of sustainability use cases that telcos could offer to their customers to enable them to reach net zero. Each use case has one or more related case studies of companies (including, but not limited to, telcos) which highlight examples of the use case in practice.

It supports telcos and their partners to:

  1. Accelerate sustainability strategy through exploring a range of real world case studies that are driving solutions across different industries and for consumers.
  2. Drive alignment within the organisation on the proposition and requirements of use cases.
  3. Highlight the monetisation opportunities and roles that need to be filled in order to deliver a sustainability solution.

To download the PDF version of our Telecoms Net Zero Enablement Use Case Directory, click the button below

Our list of use cases and case studies provide detailed insights and analysis

Each use case features the following:

  • How it works
  • How the use case enables net zero
  • Potential ecosystem partners
  • The telco business benefit (e.g. connectivity revenue, access to green finance)
  • The telco capabilities involved in the use case (e.g. 4G, 5G, edge, systems integration)
  • Whether the use case has a direct impact (clearly articulated link to sustainability in proposition) or an indirect impact (sustainability is currently a by-product)
  • The applicable business model (e.g. B2B, B2C, B2B2X)

Each case study highlights:

  • A specific example of a telco or other company offering a sustainability use case
  • An overview of how the case study works
  • STL Partners’ SWOT analysis
  • Key solution partners
  • Indication of solution maturity

Read more about sustainability

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Pitfalls of emissions enablement

Telecoms operators provide enabling technology to help their customers reduce carbon emissions. However, exaggerating claims of enablement may have adverse consequences. This article explores how telecoms operators should approach these claims.

Read more

Webinar

5G’s role in reducing carbon emissions – over 1.6B tonnes by 2030t

In this webinar STL Partners demonstrates which 5G use cases play the biggest role in reducing emissions and how the ecosystem must work together

Read more

Research

Telco roadmap to net-zero carbon emissions: Why, when and how

Based on discussions with 40 service providers (SPs) this report explores the challenges, priorities, strategies and best practices they identified around reducing carbon emissions.

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Where are SPs in their roadmap to net zero?

Where are SPs in their roadmap to net zero?

The telecoms industry has a key role to play in reducing global carbon emissions, but as it stands there is huge variety in how close SPs are to achieving net zero. This article explores where SPs are in their sustainability journeys, and their key areas of focus moving forwards.

The telecoms industry has a key role to play in reducing global emissions

There are over eighty telecoms operators globally that turn over $1 billion or more in revenues every year. As major companies, service providers (SPs) have an essential role to play in reducing global carbon emissions. So far, they have been behind the curve. While there is evidence of SPs reducing their carbon emissions over the last five years, the speed of reduction is slow. For example, twelve of the leading SPs1  have only managed to reduce their carbon emissions from a cumulative total of 33.31 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted in 2016 to 30.53 million tonnes in 2020.

The largest SPs globally have all committed to net-zero carbon emissions – but will deliver in different timeframes 

Where are SPs in their sustainability journeys?

While some SPs are taking committed and ambitious actions around carbon emissions, many others are still trying to determine what they need to be measuring and reporting in the first place. All have their own unique challenges, though even the most ambitious SPs are still struggling with the circular economy and its impact on scope 3 emissions in particular.

European SPs are leading the way

The market an SP operates in has a significant impact on its carbon emissions journey. This is because it impacts the regulations that the SP needs to operate within, and because factors like the dirtiness of the country’s grid impact the challenges an SP faces. Market dynamics are a key reason why many European SPs are further ahead in their journey and are more likely to have committed to net-zero emissions in a more aggressive timeframe. Impending EU regulation like Fit for 55, means that many SPs feel they have little choice but to introduce reduction initiatives, while SPs in North America and Asia are weighing up whether reducing carbon emissions will increase their customer, employee or shareholder satisfaction.

For SPs who are further ahead in their sustainabiltiy journeys, a large focus is on the supply chain. This is where all SPs will eventually need to focus since supply chain activities account for more than 70% of overall SP emissions. Since measuring these emissions requires capturing information from the very beginning of a supply chain to the very end, many SPs struggle to measure and report their supply chain emissions. This is a particular challenge in markets where suppliers are less geared to sustainability, such as in Asia or Africa. Therefore, despite the supply chain being the biggest contributor to an SP’s carbon footprint, it is also the most nascent area in terms of measures being undertaken to reduce it.

Data capture and the circular economy were identified as key challenges 

The focus for SPs earlier in their carbon emissions reduction journey tends to be on procuring green energy (e.g. from renewable sources) or on being more energy efficient, since this is an obvious way to make a tangible impact on emissions (with clear associated cost savings). However, the playing field for moving to greener energy is not even. Some regions in South America and Western Europe have very green electric grids already, so there are fewer barriers to the SP purchasing green energy. In others, particularly in Asia, this is very challenging or simply not possible.

Many SPs in Asia are therefore further behind in their journey to net zero emissions. This is also driven by the lack of a strong market influence; there is no need to prioritise sustainability efforts when customers or stakeholders do not request it.

SPs must build sustainability into all areas of the business

In order to deliver on their net zero emissions commitments, SPs will need to see change across all areas of their business. This will require consistent and formal backing of sustainability initiatives by both CSR (corporate social responsibility) teams and senior board members, and collaboration and sharing of best practices between teams. We have explored how stakeholders across the organisation can play a part in furthering efforts in our report: Telco roadmap to net zero carbon emissions: why, when and how.

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Pitfalls of emissions enablement

Telecoms operators provide enabling technology to help their customers reduce carbon emissions. However, exaggerating claims of enablement may have adverse consequences. This article explores how telecoms operators should approach these claims.

Read more

Webinar

5G’s role in reducing carbon emissions – over 1.6B tonnes by 2030t

In this webinar STL Partners demonstrates which 5G use cases play the biggest role in reducing emissions and how the ecosystem must work together

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Research

Telco roadmap to net-zero carbon emissions: Why, when and how

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5G’s role in reducing carbon emissions – over 1.6B tonnes by 2030 webinar

5G’s role in reducing carbon emissions – over 1.6B tonnes by 2030

5G-enabled use cases are estimated to enable close to a 1% reduction in total global emissions by 2030 – this is equivalent to approximately half of all Canada’s carbon emissions in 2018.

There is a part to play in accelerating the reduction of carbon emissions for telcos, governments, the energy industry and other key stakeholders in the industry. We have identified 7 key principles for accelerating progress, such as:

  • How operators need to deploy 5G to support this change
  • Governments’ role in setting technology and emissions policies
  • Telcos need to explore new business models to support the energy ecosystem

In this webinar STL Partners will demonstrate:

  • Which 5G use cases play the biggest role in reducing emissions
  • How the ecosystem must work together

You’ll need to submit your name and email to access the webinar

Our presenters

 

Dalia Adib, Principal Consultant, STL Partners

Matt Bamforth, Consultant, STL Partners

Ian Mash, Director, Huawei Carrier Business

Charles Bradshaw-Smith, Co-CEO & Operations, SmartKlub Ltd

Philip Steele, Future Technologies Evangelist, Octopus Energy

Recent edge computing research to complement the webinar

How 5G can cut 1.7 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2030

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Curtailing carbon emissions – Can 5G help?

On the face of it, 5G promises to be a key enabler in our quest for a carbon-neutral future. In simple terms, due to much lower kWh/TB transmitted, 5G should outperform 4G by an order of magnitude and 2/3G networks by many orders of magnitude.

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Curtailing carbon emissions – Can 5G help?

Data volumes are growing inexorably. With the right deployment, how could 5G help to improve networks’ energy performance and curtail carbon emissions?

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Will 5G facilitate or hinder our quest for a carbon-neutral future?

​Will 5g facilitate or hinder our quest for a carbon neutral future

The introduction of 5G networks will act on global carbon emissions in 4 domains:

  • Energy consumption of telco networks
  • Energy consumption of devices
  • “De-carbonisation” of energy supply
  • Reducing energy demand from enterprises and consumers

On the face of it, 5G promises to be a key enabler in our quest for a carbon-neutral future. In simple terms, due to much lower kWh/TB transmitted, 5G should outperform 4G by an order of magnitude and 2/3G networks by many orders of magnitude. Mathematically, carrying more traffic on 5G should translate into lower energy consumption than leaving it on 4/3/2G networks. The potential catch is that 5G will accelerate volumes and energy consumption from new applications (such as more immersive gaming) and/or displace traffic from even lower energy fixed or WiFi connections. In some respects, this mirrors the challenge faced by the airline industry which is constantly reducing emissions per passenger mile traveled but also seeing an inexorable growth in volumes. The big difference however, is that the airline industry is not enabling rapid transformation in other industries. 5G has a key role to play in what STL Partners has termed the Coordination Age.

We are modelling this as part of a wider research project and will be publishing findings in the coming months. More needs to be done, particularly to inform policy makers and telcos themselves in how to ensure that 5G can indeed enable a carbon-neutral future sooner.

Energy consumption of telco networks

MNOs’ main direct carbon footprint originates from their networks with around 2/3 of total telco energy from access networks. Telcos can contribute to reducing their own direct carbon emissions by reducing their energy consumption and consuming lower-carbon forms of energy (although here, they largely rely on others’ efforts in de-carbonising electricity generation). With traffic volumes increasing 30-40% annually, simply maintaining energy consumption levels is challenging. Reducing these is even more so. This will not be possible without moving to 5G for the reasons set out above: due to much lower kWh/TB transmitted, 5G should outperform 4G by an order of magnitude and 2/3G networks by many orders of magnitude. Mathematically, carrying more traffic on 5G should translate into lower energy consumption. Determining how much lower 5G’s kWh/TB will be is challenging (not least due to practical considerations, such as availability of sites) and we will need to see the results from actual deployments.

Energy consumption of devices

The second area where 5G has a potential impact on global carbon emissions is in the energy consumption in devices. In practice, a number of factors (including device antenna designs) contribute to device energy consumption. For smartphones (by far the device category with the largest contribution to carbon emissions), 5G’s higher frequencies and NR will result in lower device energy consumption for the same applications and throughput. In practice, we can expect 5G to result in more energy and throughput-intensive applications being enjoyed for longer periods. However, battery technology is only seeing modest annual improvements and will therefore continue to constrain energy consumption. Also, gamers who power their devices in will find them too hot to handle for long sessions.

Other devices (especially the billions of sensors and actuators that we anticipate) will benefit (in terms of energy consumption) from optimised 5G slicing although here the alternative may not be similar 4G devices consuming more energy but no devices at all.

“De-carbonisation” of energy supply

As we move to greater reliance of renewable energy to supply our homes, transport, offices and industries we will need to get much smarter with how we manage the supply volatility that is inherent in renewable sources such as wind and sun. Partly, this can be addressed through demand control (e.g. washing machine turning on when supply is plentiful) and distributed energy storage (e.g. treating electric vehicle fleet as an enormous battery). This means getting much smarter in predicting and responding to the balance of supply and demand. It also means squeezing more out of renewable sources. This will require reliable, secure, inexpensive connections to billions of sensors and actuators. Although other networks may well be able to serve part of this need, 5G was largely conceived with these applications in mind and will do a far better job of it.

Reducing energy demand

The largest potential impact from 5G and the hardest to estimate will come from reducing energy demand by reducing inefficiencies and waste from (public and private) enterprises and consumers. This will be an indirect impact in that enterprises and consumers will reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprints by adopting applications that are (more viably) enabled by 5G technologies.

These applications will not necessarily have energy reduction as their main objective. They may be primarily concerned with optimising other resources (e.g. machines), saving time or reducing non-energy costs (e.g. maintenance). For example, an augmented reality application supporting field workers and data from on-site sensors will reduce the number field visits, which in-turn reduces both total distances traveled annually by field workers and the number of vehicles (and field workers) needed. For consumers (and prosumers), 5G will grow the sharing economy by enabling remote safe access to homes, cars, rides, pets, or food that is approaching its “sell-by” date. Reduced energy consumption will be a considerable, if unintentional benefit from these 5G-enabled applications.

Read more about sustainability

Article

Pitfalls of emissions enablement

Telecoms operators provide enabling technology to help their customers reduce carbon emissions. However, exaggerating claims of enablement may have adverse consequences. This article explores how telecoms operators should approach these claims.

Read more

Webinar

5G’s role in reducing carbon emissions – over 1.6B tonnes by 2030t

In this webinar STL Partners demonstrates which 5G use cases play the biggest role in reducing emissions and how the ecosystem must work together

Read more

Research

Telco roadmap to net-zero carbon emissions: Why, when and how

Based on discussions with 40 service providers (SPs) this report explores the challenges, priorities, strategies and best practices they identified around reducing carbon emissions.

Read more